Irish Republican News · September 9, 2010
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
New setback for Dublin and Monaghan bomb victims

The High Court has dismissed a claim by survivors of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings that the handling of parts of a report complied by the Commission of Investigation into the atrocities amounted to a breach of the State’s human rights obligations.

The Justice for the Forgotten group as well as two victims of the explosions that occurred on May 17, 1974, brought proceedings against the 26-County state arising out of the Commission’s handling of one of its terms of reference in its report published in April 2007.

They claimed the Commission’s failure to report on why investigators had not followed up information about a man with alleged links to loyalist paramilitarism who stayed in Dublin in the days prior to the attacks was an infringement of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights.

The also claimed that the failure to provide them with access to the Commission’s archive was a further breach of their rights.

The commission was established by an order of the Dublin government in 2005 under a single judge, and reported a year later. It investigated bombings in which 34 people died in attacks blamed on state collusion with unionist paramilitaries.

In today’s judgment on a preliminary issue raised by the State as part of its defence, Ms Justice Mary Laffoy agreed with the defendants that complaints which related to events before the European Convention on Human Rights Act came into force were “not justiciable”, which means they are not matters that could be reviewed under Irish law.

The Judge also ruled that plaintiffs did not have a legally enforceable right of access to the commission’s archive. The Judge said the Taoiseach was bound by the prohibition on disclosure until 30 years after the dissolution of the Commission.

After the judgment the Secretary of the Justice for the Forgotten Mrs Margaret Urwin expressed her disappointment at the ruling.

However she said that the group needed time to fully consider the matter before commenting further.

Meanwhile, the Good Friday Agreement Implementation Committee of the 26-County parliament has called on the Dublin government to restore funding to Justice for the Forgotten.

The group campaigns on behalf of the victims of pro-British attacks against citizens in the 26 Counties, particularly the Dublin and Monaghan bombs.

“The only equivalent organisation of the Bloody Sunday Justice Campaign in the 26 Counties, the only victims group in this State, is Justice for the Forgotten,” said Deputy O Caolain.

“Since our last Committee meeting I have received a further confirmation by letter from the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Dermot Ahern, that Irish government funding will not be restored to Justice for the Forgotten.

“I welcome the decision of the Committee today to urge the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform to restore funding to Justice for the Forgotten. They must be allowed to continue their work of seeking justice and truth for victims of collusion.”

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